£26 million from UKRI for plastic packaging projects

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced £26 million worth of funding for projects that improve plastic packaging across the retail supply chain.

The funding comes as part of the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge, for which UKRI has made £60 million available to support academic research into sustainable plastic packaging solutions, matched by £149 million from industry.

The £26 million funding is open to UK businesses looking to carry out projects that focus on minimising plastic packaging, creating sustainable solutions for film and flexible packaging and behaviour change leading to higher recycling rates and less packaging waste.

Competitions include the Future Plastic Packaging Solutions fund (£2 million), the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 fund (£16 million) and the Business-led R&D Projects fund (£8 million).

The projects must also address the UK’s Plastics Pact target, which calls members of the Pact to eliminate unnecessary plastic single-use packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative delivery models by 2025.

Paul Davidson, Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge Director, said: “The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging programme is dedicated to supporting innovative projects that will have real-world benefits in reducing plastic waste in the environment, and we’ve already seen some exciting projects as the result of our programme funding, including four large-scale recycling plants.

“We are now looking to further our support in 2021 with a £26 million investment. By investing in projects ranging from reducing plastic packaging to behaviour change, we can help deliver results to reduce plastic pollution.”